Bike back

11 Jun

In an earlier post I alluded to an unfortunate biking incident in Milton Keynes which has made me apprehensive of my new bike.

I was talked into getting the bike in the first place by my boyfriend who is a cycling fiend.

He had found this great social enterprise scheme in London where I could buy a bike, and in doing so help homeless people gain the skills and experience they need to go on to work as bike mechanics.

It’s a brilliant little set up which supports, skills and provides references for people who would otherwise have no chance of getting a job.

So, ignoring the fact I hadn’t ridden a bike for approximately 15 years, I bought one. Then realised we were in Bow and we needed to get back to Chelsea.

After point blank refusing to cycle across central London I was coaxed into taking a circuitous route, involving an overland train journey.

The next day we took the bikes out to Richmond Park and had the most amazing morning with the deer, the grass all frosty and the sun shining. I was getting to enjoy this cycling lark.

So much so that I agreed to cycle through central London – Sloane Square, Marble Arch, The Mall, Euston – the following morning (a Saturday), on the condition we got up at 6.30am and were cycling on hopefully empty roads by 7am.

The plan went like clockwork and we arrived at Euston to take a train to Milton Keynes to visit our friend Ash who had been exiled there for a year.

Ash said one of Milton Keyne’s few selling points was its miles of bike lanes, totally separate from the traffic.

What could possibly go wrong?

A wet leaf, that’s what. A sharp turn, a slight down hill stretch and a slippery bit of foliage and I came a cropper in a spectacular lycra-ripping, knee-grazing, tear-inducing fashion.

After patching me up we went to the pub and played Scrabble.

Since then I’ve been scared of the bike, but I can’t leave it rotting in the garage – it would be such a waste.

So a few weeks back on a bank holiday Monday when the roads were empty I took it out for a tentative one mile test run.

I didn’t die, but I did wobble quite a lot.

A few more test rides have followed, each with their own little pleasures such as realising my leggings had a hole in the bum and the chain falling off when I attempted to change gears while peddaling up hill, and my confidence has built.

So today the sun was shining and I went for a six mile spin to the park, around the lake and back. For the first time I enjoyed it.

I found that unlike running, cycling isn’t a constant battle to keep going thanks to the occasional blessed down hill bits, which meant I had a moment to let my thoughts wander and enjoy the day.

The hills still hurt though, and by the time I got back my legs were like jelly – but I took that as a sign they’d been working hard. Better still, it gave my joints a day off from running.

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2 Responses to “Bike back”

  1. shazruns June 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    Glad you got the cycling mojo back and not surprised you mislayed it for a while after falling off. Funny isn’t it that as we get older we are terrified of hurting ourselves but as kids would not have given it a second thought, but then maybe we gain sense as we mature!!

  2. Highway Kind June 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    Even experienced cyclists drop their bikes every so often. All you can do is sadly shake your head, work out what went wrong and then carry on. Which is what you are doing – so well done. Like most things its all to do with confidence.

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